Thursday, September 20, 2007

Spaghetti With Cherry Tomatoes

Here’s a secret. I am a good cook. I want it to stay a secret, because I only want to cook, when I want to cook. No expectations, no demands. I gave up cooking for a long time, but have renewed it here in Italy. With so many fresh ingredients, and wonderful recipes, the "Italian Kitchen" is inspiring.

I have spoken often in my blog about the quality of the tomatoes here. I think that I could turn into one, and it is one thing I will surely miss when I am gone. Tomatoes in the states definitely have their "season", and while they are available year round, out of season, they just aren’t worth it.

One of my favorite recipes is Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes. This is a simple dish with all wonderful fresh ingredients that you can eat as a full meal or as the Italians do, as a first course. (Primi piatti)

Try it:

2 ½ lbs Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 cloves of garlic peeled and sliced
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
dash of oregano
4 fresh basil leaves, cut into slivers
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lb spaghetti

Wash and dry the tomatoes. Cut them in half, and place in a bowl with the garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, and basil. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat and add the tomato mixture. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Do not overcook the tomatoes: they should still be firm and retain their skins. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of salted, boiling water for 8-10 minutes (DO NOT OVERCOOK) Drain the spaghetti and add to the tomato mixture in the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes more over high heat, tossing constantly, so that the tomato sauce is absorbed by the pasta as it finished cooking. Serve hot, with fresh grated parmesan cheese Serves 4.

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